Rural American students shift away from math and science during high school, study finds

By: | July 12, 2021

More and more jobs require training in science, technology, engineering and math. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, occupations in these fields are projected to grow 8 percent by 2029, more than double the growth rate of non-scientific professions. There’s a pressing need to attract young students from all backgrounds to study these fields in college.

One large group trailing behind are rural and small town students, who account for 3 out of 10 students nationally. A new analysis of federal data finds that only 13 percent of rural and small town students major in math and science in college, compared with almost 17 percent of students in the suburbs. That’s a large 4 percentage point gap. Urban students also trail suburban students when it comes to studying science, but only by a little, according to the federal data.

Fewer rural and small town students go to four-year colleges and that explains part of this gap. But even rural and small town students who do go to four-year colleges are less likely to major in science or math.

Read more from The Hechinger Report.

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